Local farmers waiting for spring

POSTED: 5:43 PM Mar 27 2013   UPDATED: 12:00 AM Mar 27 2013
WEATHER IMPACT ON FARMERS
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

This is not the spring farmers in our region were expecting: snow, rain, frost, and below average temperatures, which are causing problems all over.

We caught up with one farmer who says each day of winter-like weather means a one week delay of his work.

The rolling fields in Washington County, Tennessee are on winter-mode, which is strange during the last week of March.

"Usually we're able to at least get in the fields and work some ground or apply fertilizers and this year there's just not been an opportunity to do that," said farmer Dusty Saylor.

That's because of wet weather, spring snows, cold temperatures, and even cloudy skies. We did some digging and learned the ground soil is simply too cold to plant crops like broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower.

"If I had four days of dry weather, I could at least get started on higher ground," added Saylor.

This waiting game to plant crops means you and I won't see these vegetables at local Farmers Markets until later in the season.

That's not the only impact, farmers say they're having to spend more for hay to feed their livestock and then Saylor says there's another toll, "Now is when they're [cattle] are having calves, you're in a downfall there. It's so cold on them we try to provide shelters in most places."

But there are a few pro's with this continuing winter weather, when the snow melts it soaks into the ground. "Which is very beneficial because it keeps our creeks and ponds full for livestock and keeps that moisture, ground moisture ready in a drought situation," said Agriculture Agent Anthony Shelton.

When it comes to cold temperatures, we learned greenhouses and tobacco farmers are spending more money on heating, trying to avoid frost damage to their plants.